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Johnson Smokes Rockies

April 22, 2002|From Associated Press

PHOENIX — The Colorado Rockies couldn't hit Randy Johnson on Sunday. They couldn't rattle him, either.

Johnson struck out 17 and pitched a two-hitter for his major league-leading fifth victory, and the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Rockies, 7-1.

Johnson received an adrenaline boost in the sixth when he struck out pinch-hitter Terry Shumpert to begin the inning.

Shumpert stared at the mound and Johnson stared at Shumpert. The hard looks led to some catcalls from the Colorado dugout.

"It's not important [what was said]," Johnson said. "It helped motivate me."

Arizona first baseman Mark Grace said he has been on teams that tried bench jockeying against Johnson, only to learn not to bother.

"The best thing you can do is keep your thoughts to yourself," Grace said. "You don't want to go making the big boy angry."

Johnson (5-0) struck out Todd Helton to finish his sixth career game with at least 17 strikeouts. His high is 20.

Johnson matched teammate Curt Schilling for the most strikeouts in a game this season. He leads the majors with 50 strikeouts in 39 innings.

His fastball reached 101 mph and three of his last four pitches were clocked at 100 mph. Johnson walked one.

Arizona Manager Bob Brenly said he had planned to replace Johnson with Byung-Hyun Kim to start the ninth.

"He said, 'No, I will finish,'" Brenly said. "And I said, 'OK.'"

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